NCCN: Cancer Drug Shortages Remain a Challenge for Clinicians

89 percent of cancer centers report that cancer drugs are in short supply, most often vinblastine, etoposide, and topotecan
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FRIDAY, June 28, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Almost 90 percent of medical centers report cancer drug shortages, which often impact clinical trials, according to the results of a National Comprehensive Cancer Network survey.

Following data published one year ago and six months ago illustrating shortages of crucial cancer drugs, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network published new results from its most recent survey on cancer drug shortages in the United States.

According to the survey, 89 percent of the 28 cancer centers surveyed reported that cancer drugs are in short supply, most often vinblastine (57 percent), etoposide (46 percent), and topotecan (43 percent). Eleven and 7 percent of centers reported that carboplatin and cisplatin, respectively, were in short supply. More than half of the centers surveyed (56 percent) reported being able to treat all patients according to the intended dose and schedule by using mitigation strategies, with waste management strategies and limiting use of current stock (80 and 53 percent, respectively) the most common mitigation strategies implemented. Drug shortages impacted clinical trials at 43 percent of the centers surveyed, most often by greater administrative burden and reduction in enrollments (83 and 58 percent, respectively).

"The current situation underscores the need for sustainable, long-term solutions that ensure a stable supply of high-quality cancer medications," Alyssa Schatz, M.S.W., from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, said in a statement. "The federal government has a key role to play in addressing this issue. Establishing economic incentives, such as tax breaks or manufacturing grants for generic drugmakers, will help support a robust and resilient supply chain -- ultimately safeguarding care for people with cancer across the country."

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